Simmons at home with Cougars
Lejaun Simmons has dedicated his first season back with Devonshire Cougars in honour of his late cousin and the club's former midfielder Tumaini Steede.
Simmons has rejoined Cougars from Robin Hood and is looking forward to playing in Steede's memory at the club where the Bermuda winger made his senior debut at the age of 16.
“This is where home is and where the heart is,” Simmons said. “I pretty much left as a boy and came back as a man and more experienced and just happy to be back.
“It was a long time coming and I was always going to come back because I've never had a chance yet to tribute a season to my cousin Maini [Steede], who passed away the same season I left for England in pursuit of a professional career at Ilkeston.
“It's definitely a feel-good factor and everyone around the club is buzzing and ready to get going.”
Steede, the son of Cyril “Dago” Steede, the former Cougars and Bermuda midfielder, died in a bike accident in 2012.
Simmons, who played for Bermuda at the Concacaf Gold Cup last summer, believes that Cougars have a good nucleus of players.
“It's definitely a good blend of senior players,” he said. “We have some quality players in Drewonde Bascome, Moses Steede, who is back from injury and Darius Cox who has loads of experience.”
The 27-year-old is up for the challenge of helping to re-establish Cougars has a formidable force.
“Cougars don't deserve to be on the bottom of the table looking back at last season,” Simmons said. “So my first challenge is to help us get up in the table competing with the top teams and start bringing trophies back out to the Rec.
“They are known for winning trophies and were the last club to win the ‘Triple Crown' [Premier Division, Friendship Trophy and FA Cup]. So we need to bring that competitiveness back to the club and if we stay consistent and tick away important games then we shouldn't have no problem.”
Cougars won the ‘Triple Crown' during the 2012-13 campaign under former coach Dennis Brown.
Simmons is also excited to be reunited with former team-mate Bascome.
“The last time Drewonde and I played together was when we were at Bascome FC,” he said.
“We already have that chemistry and he used to be my roommate in the national team, so I'm definitely looking forward to playing with him again.”
Simmons is among a trio of players to join Cougars from rival Premier Division clubs during the transfer period, which expired on July 15.
Defender Ari Cannonier has joined from X-Roads and winger Chaekai Caisey from champions North Village. Like Simmons, Caisey is also playing in memory of a late Cougars stalwart, his Godfather Wali Salaam, who died of cancer two years ago.
“It gives me more motivation to play in honour of my late Godpa Wali, and to play with his sons [Zari and Nyeem Simmons] means a lot to me,” Caisey said.
“I'm excited and can't wait because the team is looking real strong and I feel we have great potential. We will be competitive next season because it's a good combination of youth and experience in the team.”